(January 4, 2019 / JNS) A bipartisan bill to elevate the status of the U.S. special envoy on anti-Semitism was reintroduced on Thursday as the 116th Congress commenced.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) proposed again the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act that, if enacted, would upgrade the status of the special envoy to combat anti-Semitism—a position the State Department has left vacant for 20 months—to an ambassadorship requiring Senate confirmation.
The president would be required to fill the position within 90 days. The special-envoy position is currently vacant and has been so since the start of the Trump administration.
“We are seeing a precipitous rise in anti-Semitism around the world, manifested through acts of violence against Jews and synagogues, insults, slurs, threats and criticism of Israel that meets the criteria of what Soviet refusenik and religious prisoner Natan Sharansky called the ‘three Ds’: demonization, double-standard and de-legitimization,” said Smith, a co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism.
“The U.S. must be a world leader in standing against this menace, and my legislation would help us redouble our efforts to fight global anti-Semitism,” he continued.
“Now is the time to fill this position and provide all the support necessary to carry out this all-important mission,” added Smith. “The eyes of the world are looking to us to be the leader in the fight against anti-Semitism.”
While the bill overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives in September, it did not get a vote in the Senate.